Disclosure :: This post is part of a series for World Breastfeeding Week and is sponsored by Our Lady of Lourdes Women’s & Children’s Hospital.
My Breastfeeding Experience as a New And Seasoned Mom
It is no secret that women all over this land have varying opinions on what makes you a good mom, and breastfeeding is one of those things that can make or break you as a mom in some women’s eyes. Trust me, I am NOT one of those women; I am more of a “love what you do and just be good at it.” I understand the breastfeeding struggle from both ends of the mom spectrum.
As a new mom I knew nothing about breastfeeding. I was one of the first of my close friends to start having kids and one of the firsts to breastfeed, yet I still felt an immense pressure to exclusively breastfeed and to never abandon that path. Looking back, what I hate about this the most is the pure “black and white” of it. It is either breastfeed or don’t, and in my opinion that is a huge misconception.
Breastfeeding can also overwhelm and isolate a mom, especially a new mom. To start with the obvious, you are the only one that can feed the baby. Please don’t forget that you cannot give them a bottle or pacifier too soon, we don’t want them to have nipple confusion. Also, don’t breastfeed or pump in front of anyone. Essentially go and lock yourself in a room with your baby and you are only allowed to emerge for their first birthday.
To me, breastfeeding was not black and white; you can breastfeed and supplement with formula in whatever way works for your family. You don’t’ have to stop breastfeeding because you can’t pump enough at work. Or not go on a vacation away from your little because your freezer supply is too low. I left baby B when he was 6 months old to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary and it was the first time he got half formula and half breastmilk in his bottle. It is ok to quit breastfeeding altogether if it is just too much stress on you. Let’s be honest, we live in a time with medical advances that allow formula to be an excellent option when it needs to be, and no one gets to decide when it is ok for formula except for mom, baby, and maybe doctor.
DO NOT ISOLATE YOURSELF, I repeat DO NOT ISOLATE YOURSELF! Come baby two and three, I moved that glider into my den because that is where all business took place. I nursed and pumped, when and where I wanted to, in my house and out of it. We had bottle practice on the weekends to get ready for daycare, and my third baby still LOVES his pacifier. I vividly remember my husband telling me in the early days home with baby # 3 that if I didn’t give the baby a pacifier in between feedings that there was nothing he could do to help me … and he was right.
I enjoyed nursing and felt a very special bond with my kids during the nine months that I nursed. Do not get me wrong, I struggled in my own way as a new and seasoned mom when I breastfed my children, but for the most part it is something that came very easy to me and all three of my kids. But I know that not every mom has the same journey. You didn’t breastfeed any of your kids; cool. You didn’t breastfeed your last baby; cool. You breastfed all of your kids for two years; cool.
But I want to remember the countless moms and friends that have struggled with breastfeeding and all I want is to be understanding and supportive. I don’t need to question your every move and decision, but if you ask me for advice I will tell you what worked for us.